With their win over the Milwaukee Brewers on Thursday night, the Washington Nationals moved to 59-39 on the season. They have reached 20 games over .500 as a franchise for the first time since 1994 and became the first D.C. baseball team to hit the mark in 79 years.
The number 59 itself is significant. The Nats only amassed 59 wins total in each of the 2008 and 2009 regular seasons. Both years of course landed them number one picks the following drafts and in turn Stephen Strasburg and Bryce Harper.
Having played 98 games total so far this season, the Nationals are winning at a clip of .602. They have reached 59 wins faster than any team in franchise history, dating back to the Montreal Expos inaugural 1969 season.
The 1989 Expos hit 59 wins a day before the 2012 Nats, on July 25, but it was in their 100th game. The Expos, however, lost 40 of their last 62 games to finish 81-81 that season.
The five best regular season records in franchise history are as follows: 95 wins (1979), 94 wins (1993), 91 wins (1987), 90 wins (1980), and 88 wins (1996). The fastest to 59 among that bunch was the 79 club who did it in 102 games on Aug. 2. All five of the franchises best regular season teams by wins did not qualify for the playoffs in their respective years.
The one year the franchise did make the postseason was in 1981, when they won a total of 60 games in a strike-shortened year. That team won at a .556 winning percentage which is not quite the pace of this years club. This Nationals team is on pace to win 98 over the course of a full season.
59 doesnt say much in the context of 162 games, but being there this soon in the schedule is not something this franchise has experienced. Davey Johnson has been on championship teams and knows you dont win them in game 98. He told reporters after the game, We havent done nothin.
64 games remain, but the Nationals are tied for the best record in baseball and 2012 could be there for the taking.